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What is the difference between a masters level clinician, a psychologist, and psychiatrist?

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SCooke Share
Mar 3, 2016


They differ in the level of education, legal and regulatory authority.


Clinicians generally have no more than a Master's degree training and must work under the direction or authority of a Ph.D. psychologist or psychiatrist.

A psychologist is usually a Ph.D. in psychology and may treat patients by counseling for various maladies. However, a psychologist is usually NOT allowed to prescribe any controlled medications for patients. They often work as independent consulting professionals.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or O.D.) with a specialty in psychology. They are allowed to prescribe medications after licensure by the appropriate regulator bodies. They are required whenever a psychiatric condition requires medication in concert with other psychological therapies. They may work as independent professionals in their own practices, or in conjunction with medical hospitals or clinics.

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